I immediately went to Zephyr's site. These "necklaces" are actually Rhythm Beads. As a training aid, it helps to remove distracting noises that might potentially spook a horse. In addition, the rhythm provides a focus on gaits and assists the coordination of rider movements. The soft jingle can also help calm a nervous horse or rider. As a safety aid, it lets hunters and wildlife know where you are. It appears that the Rhythm Beads may have started out as part of Native American culture, worn to protect both rider and horse from evil spirits and to provide courage. In a way, they continue to do that. :-)
My communication with Zephyr Equine Gifts couldn't have been more pleasant and helpful. Not only did I order one for my beautiful boy, I also ordered two extra Rhythm Beads as gifts. They arrived last week. The bells have a nice sound and the beads used are lovely and bright in colour.
Gem had his on when we went for a trail ride on Sunday. There were chuckles and snorts when I led Gem out of the barn and into the front paddock. While Rhythm Beads are gaining in popularity in other riding disciplines, it appears that the reining community (at least here) hasn't really been exposed to them. What they feel is appropriate on a horse is very traditional and I guess putting "jewelry" on a horse is just not "cowboy". I explained to my two riding buddies the safety benefits and the calming aspects of the bells. They have experienced deer or wild turkeys spooking their horses out on the trails and they agreed that the bells made sense as a warning.
So out we went with the soft jingle adding to the ambiance of the trail ride. No one complained about them and I think they did have a calming effect for me. Gem wasn't bothered by the bells and didn't mind having something around his neck. So, beauty, music, calmness and safety...seems like a good combo to me. Of course, I will be a trendsetter at my barn.....once again ..... :-)